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with the same Karoll every day two times or three, and hath bought divers books of him ; for the which, as I suppose, he hath put himself in danger* to the same Karoll. I made a motion to William to have known part of his business : and he answered and said, that he would be as glad and as fain of a good book of French or of poetry, as my master Sir John Fastolf would be to purchase a fair manor: and thereby I understand he list not to be communed withal in such matters.”
THE LANGUAGE OF SCOTLAND. 12. The history of the transformations suffered by the AngloSaxon tongue is not complete, till we have marked its fate in Scotland.
How a language substantially the same with that of the English Teutons came to be currently spoken in the Scottish Lowlands to the North of the Frith of Forth, is one of those questions in our national annals, to which no answer has been made that is in any view satisfactory. If the old historians have reported to us every thing that really happened, the Anglo-Saxon settlements did not extend into those provinces, or a very little way, if at all.
The difficulty is greatest, if we believe that the Picts, who are named as their early inhabitants, were a Celtic race. But it is not by any means removed by the theory, which has been made very probable, that our Pictish ancestors were really Goths. If they were so, they must have been separated from the main stock at a period so far distant, that it could not but have been difficult for their language to pass into any of the Gothic dialects that were transported from the continent in the fifth century. One is tempted, therefore, to regard with some favour the opinion, that the Danes or other Northmen, especially the Norwegians, were the planters of a Gothic speech in the North. If their piratical expeditions are the only facts to be founded on, the solution is plainly insufficient. Such incursions, though leaving a stray colony here and there, could not well have changed the language of a whole people. Lately, however, the clue to the labyrinth has ingeniously been sought in the curious fact, already known but overlooked, that, for thirty years in the eleventh century, a Norwegian kingdom was actually and regularly maintained in the East of Scotland. The Norse population which may be conjectured to have then been introduced, is alleged to have been, with the occasional infusions of the same blood, the kernel of the race now inhabiting the eastern counties northward of the Lothians :
* In danger, i. e, in debt ; so used by Shakspeare, and later.
and the further assimilation to the Germans of the South, in language as well as customs, is attributed to the annexation of all these counties to the Scottish crown. Here, again, our groundwork of facts is scanty. Nor should it be overlooked, that, although the North-Eastern dialects of Scotland exhibit
Norse words in their vocabulary, the grammar of all of them is as decidedly Anglo-Saxon as that of Yorkshire or Norfolk. This fact has greater importance than we might at first suppose; since the Scandinavian tongues have grammatical peculiarities, distinguishing them clearly from all those of the Teutonic stock.
As to the Lothians and other Scottish provinces lying southward of the Forth, no doubt arises. We have learned that they were covered by Anglo-Saxon emigrants : and the descendants of these invaders gradually spread themselves towards the west. It was only in consequence of political occurrences, and not till a considerable time after the invasions, that they were separated from the more southerly Teutonic communities. Further, in the twelfth century and later, the Scottish kings cherished the Saxon institutions and habits with constant eagerness.
The speech of these South-Eastern counties, which became that of Scottish literature, was, in its earliest periods, just one of the Anglian or Northumbrian varieties of the Anglo-Saxon. It preserved its original character, and underwent changes closely resembling those which took place in England; and this fact, by the way, is in itself enough to overthrow the old supposition, that the Norman Conquest was the cause which destroyed the AngloSaxon tongue; since the Normans in the Scottish kingdom were always very few, chiefly malcontent barons from the south. In the fourteenth century, when the language of Scotland began to be freely used in metrical composition, it was not at all further distant from the standard English of the time, than were other English dialects which, like the Scottish, were frequently applied to literary, uses.
13. Barbour, contemporary with Chaucer, has already been described as having really written in purer English than that which was used in the Canterbury Tales. The Scottish poet's dialect has its closest parallel (and the resemblance is often striking) in the more homely and popular diction of Piers Plowman. The provincial spelling is a mere accident, which must not be allowed to mislead us.
We may take, from “The Bruce," the animated panegyric on freedom, often though it has been quoted elsewhere.
* Text from Jamieson's Bruce and Wallace; 1820.
A ! fredome is a noble thing!
That athys hart hym drawis to. 14. The close likeness of the two tongues did not last very long after the War of Independence. Before the end of the fif
> Ease • Lives; Anglo-Saxon, libban; Danish, leven; German, leben.
6 The a for o, so frequent in the Scottish dialect, is Anglo-Saxon, and, as we have seen, lingered long in the English, 7 Nor. 8 Else. Not and nought. See Chaucer's prose.
18 Perfectly : Scottish; said to be per-quair, by book: quair is used by Chaucer, and gives our quire (of paper).
21 Prize. 19 S- for sch- or sh-, an Anglian peculiarity. 22 See Note 16.
23 Abandoned ; nearly French. 24 To; modern Scottish. It is really good Anglo-Saxon, though less common than to.
25 In Old Scottish spelling (and in Moeso-Gothic) quh- answers to the Anglo-Saxon hw-, and the English wh26 Yet?
27 Scottish; much ; from the Anglo-Saxon adjective mycel, mycle, great ; comparative, more ; superlative, mæst. 28 Live.
At, relative, Scottish for that.
teenth century, the literary language of Scotland, although it continued to be called English by those who wrote in it, differed widely from that of England, although not so far as to make it difficult of comprehension to an Englishman familiar with Chaucer.
The deviation is quite established in the poems of Dunbar, and is made more palpable by the pedantic Latinisins which, as we have learned, now infected all the Scottish poetry, coalescing very badly with the native Teutonic diction. The striking personifications in his masterpiece, “ The Daunce,” are for several reasons unsuitable as specimens. We are partly indemnified by the opening of the very beautiful poem, "The Thistle and the Rose,” which commemorates, in the allegorical manner of similar poems by Chaucer and his French masters, the marriage of James the Fourth with the Princess Margaret of England, celebrated in the year 1503.*
Quhen Merch wes with variand' windis past,
And Appryll had, with bir silver schouris,
And lusty* May, that mudders is of flouris,
Had maid the birdis to begyn thair hourisø
In bed at morrow, sleiping as I lay,
Me thocht Aurora, with hir cristall ene,
And halsit” me, with visage paill and grene:
On quhois hand a lark sang fro the splene :12
9 Leave of
Varying ; the Anglo-Saxon present participle in -nde ; to be found in Chaucer.
3 An; Anglo-Saxon and Scottish. * From Anglo-Saxon and Old English, lust, pleasure, desire. 6 Mother ; Anglo-Saxon, moder, modor, modur. 6 i. e. Their prayers ;
horæ,” an ecclesiastical phrase. 7 Red; see Chaucer.
8 Was ; Anglo-Saxon, wees.
* Text from Laing's “Poems of William Dunbar;" 1834.
Me thocht fresche May befoir my bed up stude,
In weid depaynt of mony diverss hew;
In brycht atteir of flouris forgito new,
Hevinly of colour, quhyt, reid, broun, and blew,-
Quhyll'8 all the house illumynit of hir lemys.19
And in my honour sum thing thow go wryt:
To raise up luvaris with confort and delyt:
Yit nocht incressis thy curage” to indyt ;
Sangis to mak undir the levis grene!” 16 Forged, fashioned.
17 Embalmed. 18 While, until. 19 Gleams, beams; Anglo-Saxon, leoma, a beam or ray of light: leoman, to shine or gleam. 20 She; common in England in the fourteenth century.
Courage ; but meaning, as in Lydgate, and often elsewhere, desire,